Valedictorian Mike Wenzlawe

Being selected Valedictorian left Michael Wenzlawe almost speechless.

"It's such an immense honour. I am completely ecstatic about it."

Bachelor of Applied Ecotourism and Outdoor Leadership graduate Mike Wenzlawe.

This Bachelor of Applied Ecotourism and Outdoor Leadership (ETOL) student is not easily astounded. Wenzlawe has had remarkable experiences that would impress even the most seasoned of travellers.

"Travel is very important to me and it's something I always want to be doing for the rest of my life," Wenzlawe says.

Going around the world

When Wenzlawe talkes about travelling, he isn't referring to an all-inclusive vacation at a 5-star resort.

During the time he was working on his degree, Wenzlawe travelled to Australia, New Zealand, Bangkok, Dominica (a small island in the Eastern Caribbean) and visited Nahanni National Park Reserve in Canada's Northwest Territories.

Wenzlawe was also the lucky Canadian contestant who won the contest, The Aussie Adventurer, put on by Campus Tourism Australia in which he toured Australia's most exciting and adventurous lovales and blogged about his experience.

Changing the course of his education

Althought it may seem hard to believe, Wenzlawe didn't always use a backpack as a briefcase.

Starting his post-secondary studies in business at another university, Wenzlawe realized after two years it just wasn't going to get him what he wanted in life.

"When I started in ETOL, everything instantly clicked and got brighter in the sense that I found what I was meant to do. The funny thing is that I had only ever 'car camped' before the program, but from the start I really pushed my boundaries."

Wenzlawe made the Dean's Honour Roll in each semester of his degree and also recently made the President's Honour Roll. He was also awarded the Mountain Equipment Co-op Leadership Scholarship in 2011 and 2012.

"Ever since I was young I would strive to be in some sort of leadership role. I never really cared about grades in school until I was in ETOL, but the one thing I have always made sure of is that I was in a role where I could help others," says Wenzlawe.

Bachelor of Applied Ecotourism and Outdoor Leadership graduate Mike Wenzlawe.

"I think one of the best things you can do is be involved in helping someone attain their own goals," says Wenzlawe.

Guiding other students

As president of the Outdoor Adventure Club, Wenzlawe increased the membership level to an astounding member base of 250 people

And as Wenzlawe moves on from Mount Royal he will share his passion for ecotourism with high school students as a trip counsellor for S-Trip!- a leading expert on student travel in North America that provides programs to more than 25,000 students annually in over 40 destinations.

"A dream job for me is getting paid to travel the world," Wenzlawe says of his hopes for the future. "There is still so much out there in the world that I need to experience."

Wenzlawe also encourages his fellow graduates to cross borders and pursue whatever goal in life they want to achieve.

"Never set restrictions. I wouldn't have got to where I am now if I didn't go for something that I thought was beyond my reach."

- Angela S., June 6, 2013